07/17/19 5:55am

A bottle of Bedell Cellars merlot. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

I’ve long been dubious with the idea of merlot — or any grape, really — being anointed the “signature variety” for Long Island wine country. But merlot does grow well here, meaning it ripens consistently. More consistently than varieties like cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. 

Growers know this. And they’ve known it for some time.  (more…)

05/11/19 6:00am

Credit: Vera Chinese

I don’t have an expansive wine cellar, but I do have one. It’s in a corner of our basement against an outside wall, where it stays mostly cool year-round. It’s also a disorganized disaster of a mess. And that might be understating the situation.

But, as I slowly try to dig through it and drink down my cellar to a more manageable size, I’ve found some real treasures — older local wines that in many cases I didn’t realize I had. I opened some with friends just to see how they were tasting. They varied in years from 1997 to 2006 and, while a couple of them were probably beyond their peak drinking, not a single one of them was what I’d call a clunker.

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04/20/19 5:55am

As I sit here writing this column, the sun is shining out over my messy backyard — our two dogs and our two kids have left it a mud pit — and the window is open for the first time. Spring has been slow to arrive, but it’s here and I’m definitely ready for it.

This time of year is a real sweet spot on the calendar: when it’s starting to get warmer, but before Memorial Day when the East End traffic ramps up and spending a day on the North Fork becomes a bit more laborious.

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03/16/19 6:00am

As someone who writes about not only New York wine but also wine grown up and down the Eastern Seaboard — and even the Midwest — I’ve been thinking a lot about diversity lately.

Diversity takes many forms in the wine world. You have the grapes themselves, of course, and not just different varieties like merlot or chardonnay. There are different clones within each variety as well. Maybe we’ll talk clones in detail in an upcoming column, but you can think of a clone as a version of a grape variety that has specific characteristics. (more…)

02/12/19 6:05am

 

The outdoor space at Jamesport Vineyards in summer. (Northforker file photo)

When Jamesport Vineyards winemaker Dean Babiar arrived in 2014 as harvest was winding down — everything was picked except for riesling for late harvest dessert wine — it was, of course, news. Any winemaker change is news in a relatively small region like Long Island. Looking back, it probably should have been bigger news.  (more…)

12/19/18 5:55am

Macari Vineyards 2017 “Katherine’s Field” Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Every spring, local wine fans clamor for new releases from the previous fall’s harvest. Steel chardonnays, roses, rieslings and sauvignon blancs dominate the first wines released. They are fresh, often delicious and it’s just plain fun to drink new wines.  (more…)